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NRM caucus summoned over EALA polls

By David Lumu

Added 27th February 2017 10:19 AM

Lawmakers will elect Ugandan representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly on Tuesday

NRM caucus summoned over EALA polls

Lawmakers will elect Ugandan representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly on Tuesday

Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa will chair today's caucus. Photo by Miriam Namutebi

As a last political lap gesture to tighten the loose ends within the ruling party over Tuesday's election of representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has today summoned its parliamentary caucus.

The caucus meeting at the President's office comes at a time when some NRM lawmakers are feared to be in bed with opposition figures as the race for EALA slots hits fever pitch.

According to the NRM parliamentary caucus chairperson, Solomon Silwany, today's caucus will discuss two main issues—whip members back to the fold and also decide on who among the opposition contenders the party lawmakers will elect.

"As a matter of principle, we want to re-affirm to all our members, including those who didn't vote for the six NRM nominees, that they should vote as a bloc to take NRM forward. We shall also agree on someone within the opposition, who is competent, friendly and who will take the national agenda to the region. Once, we agree on the opposition candidate, members will be obliged to vote that person," Silwanyi said.

Today's caucus will be chaired by the Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa.

Tight race

Lawmakers will elect Ugandan representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

The clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige, will be the presiding officer of the elections. Parliament has 431MPs who form the Electoral College. Each of the five East African Community (EAC) partner states elects nine representatives to EALA every seven years.

Last Monday 47 aspirants were cleared by the Parliament's Verification Committee chaired by Beatrice Rwakimari (NRM, Ntungamo) to compete for the 9 EALA slots.

The 47 include 37 independents, six members of NRM, two for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), one for the Uganda People's Congress (UPC) and one for the Democratic Party (DP).

Suzan Nakawuki (incumbent independent), Christopher Opoka, UPC flag bearer, and Denis Mukasa Mbidde, DP's flag bearer, are seeking re-election for a second term at the regional assembly, which sits in Arusha.

Paul Musamali, Rose Akol, Mary Mugenyi Mathias Kasamba, George Odong and Denis Namara are the NRM six nominees. 

FDC nominated former Kaberamaido district woman MP Florence Ibi Ekwau as the party's flag bearer.

However, Nandala Mafabi, the FDC secretary general, also fronted Ingrid Turinawe to run alongside Ibi, a move that has since stirred controversy within the party. 

How the nine slots will be shared

According to Article 50(1) of the treaty establishing the East African Community (EAC), a national assembly of each partner state, shall elect, not from its members, nine members of the assembly, who shall represent as much as feasible, the various political parties represented in the national assembly, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that partner state, in accordance with such procedure as the national assembly of each partner state may determine.

Kibirige said according to the rules, out of the nine seats allotted to Uganda, NRM had been allotted six slots because of its numerical strength in parliament.

The Clerk to Parliament added that the remaining three slots will be shared by the opposition political parties and the independents.

"It is not a must that every political party will be voted by the electorate to be represented in EALA, one of the political parties may not get a candidate to represent them because of the limitation of the nine slots," Kibirige said.

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